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bmi British Midland Airlines Review Overview

Rating 3 out of 10
3 out of 10 with 1234 images
bmi is being sold by Lufthansa to International Airlines Group (IAG), which owns British Airways and Iberia. Details are very unclear at this stage, but it is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2012, and until then the current set up of the company remains unchanged. bmiís route network for winter 2011/2012 remains as planned and the summer 2012 network will operate without any major changes. Both airlines have a largely complementary network, with few overlaps. However it is almost certain that the bmi Diamond Club will be axed within the next few months. Read the full story here.

Once bmi British Midland was a lovely midsized full-service airline. No longer. Once it had decent free food, nice lounges, and a Frequent Flyer scheme to die for. These have all recently died. bmi isn't even the UK's second biggest airline, as it was once promoted. There are no longer transatlantic flights, or indeed flights to India.

Now, bmi is in a state of flux as it never was before. bmi is currently undergoing a massive period of change following it's takeover by Lufthansa, and the list of axed routes is almost longer than the routes it still operates: no longer are there well worn routes it operated for decades: Amsterdam, Brussels, Tel Aviv, Palma and Venice have all gone. Even the mainline route from Dublin to London Heathrow has been cut back. Come to that so has one of the three long haul aircraft, giving bmi a long haul fleet of, err, two. Mind you, that's double the number of last year when one of the A330s was put out to grass. ... read more about bmi's seats and fleet.

The airline is also in the middle of a rebranding exercise, with the trendy lower case "bmi" logo (with the i meaning international) gradually giving way to British Midland International again, except in the Diamond Club, where the bmi has almost totally been erased. Come to that, there is considerable speculation that the Diamond Club frequent flier scheme will shortly be axed, sold on, or moved over to Lufthansa's Miles&More scheme.

Most of the routes from East Midlands airport have become low cost routes, under the flag of bmi's low-cost offshoot, bmibaby. However some routes are still there, and tickets can be a bit cheaper. A further hub at Cardiff has been added to revamp the Welsh version of bmi baby.

So why fly bmi? Well, the airline does now have some decent intercontinental routes, because bmi has pulled off a bit of a coup, acquiring control of BMED (which used to fly in BA colours). It operates to 17 medium-haul destinations in 16 countries around the Med. This means that bmi has been able to reposition as a "mid-haul" airline - something it's done quite well, particularly by serving destinations that would be quite expensive on a competitor, such as Moscow or Cairo. It's revamped some of it's A320 planes with a much better business class. British Airways has also bought 102 weekly take-off and landing slots from bmi for £30m, which means that there are not so many flights to destinations that you'd expect bmi to fly to.

And, err, that's about it really. The Frequent Flyer scheme is now only really any good so long as you never fly bmi (but just put other airline's miles onto the card, and redeem them in the Star Alliance). Lounges are being closed, and access to them restricted, mileage frills are being cut - all in all it's a sorry sight.

It will be all change again over the next few years with an airline that can never really make it's mind up what it's going to be. As always with bmi, you're never really sure what you're going to get until you get to the airport - or in some cases, onboard. ... read more.

bmi A319 at Amsterdam MARCH 2005
bmi A319 at Amsterdam

Note that all reviews and opinions on bmi (BD) food, service, seats, planes, upgrades, lounges, and the Diamond Club Frequent Flyer scheme is soley at my judgement. No legal liability is accepted if you take my advice.

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